Booyah’s Favorite Things

Happy Friday, all! It’s finally here. WHEW. It has been a long, tough week for me, getting back into my regularly scheduled workout routine. I am SORE. Yeow. All I kept thinking when I’ve been working out this week is that these muscles are the ones that will be lifting my couch up three flights of stairs when I move in 17 days…let’s strengthen these babies UP!

Enough about that. I am maybe 46% excited that it’s the holiday season (most of my excitement is being directed toward grad school). I know we are already smack-dab in the middle of Hanukkah, and Christmas is quickly approaching, but I thought I’d share a few of my recent faves that might be the perfect little something for someone on your holiday gift list. Without further ado…

  1. Oiselle Flyte Long Sleeve

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This seamless running shirt is cute enough to wear in real life! The fabric is light, soft, sweat-wicking, non-chafing and of course has thumb holes. The perfect shirt for chilly winter runs and wearing to get coffee afterwards too. It has outstanding reviews and is sure to inspire you to lace up your sneaks and get out there. Find it here: Oiselle Flyte Long Sleeve.

2. Runner Box

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The Runnerbox is filled with all things having to do with running, perfect for your marathoner friends and family: gels, chews, protein shakes, snacks, personal care, running accessories and discounts. Boxes are sent out every two months and cost between $20 and $25, depending on how many months you choose to subscribe. Hi, who doesn’t want a fun gift to open every two months?! Runnerbox also has boxes devoted to cyclists and triathletes.

3.ย Reach for the Moon Pendant

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This is so CUTE! I randomly came across this collection of necklaces (reasonably priced at around $55 each) with each one having a different meaning. I think it’s such a cute way to wear as a reminder to set your goals high, with a blue moonstone for happiness, blue topaz for joy, love, luck and health; and iolite to open the mind. Adorbs. You can find it at Uncommon Goods.

4. GRID Mini Foam Roller

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I have a serious love affair with my foam roller – it hurts so good! The Grid Mini Foam Roller ($25) loosens tight muscles and helps prevent injuries; it’s a great tool after any workout. This small, travel-friendly roller is easy to store and bring to roll out your legs after you attempt to run off your Chrismukkah feast. It makes the perfect gift for the ones you love. ๐Ÿ™‚

5. Garden Jar

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This Garden Jar, although back ordered because it snagged a spot on Oprah’s Favorite Things list, is such a sweet gift idea. It contains three self-watering jars containing basil, parsley and mint. You can grow the herbs indoors in a sunny window and you’ll have fresh herbs on hand when it’s time to throw them in your favorite dishes. SO AWESOME. Find it here: Garden Jar 3-pack.

I hope that you guys all have a fabulous Friday and weekend! The name of the game for me is a) pack it up and b) see friends, so I will be doing that all weekend long. What are you guys up to this weekend? Tell me all about it in the comments.

With warmth,

L

Practicing Self-Compassion

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One very important aspect of training and moving towards a goal, whether personal, work-related or athletic, is self-compassion. Instead of beating yourself up over mistakes, set backs or bad days, cheering yourself on is a key feature of achieving your goals. My dad once told me, “Be your own best friend.” This tidbit of fatherly advice has stuck with me over the years and helped me pull myself out of a whirlpool of self-doubt on my darkest days. Responding to your inner critic as you would speak to a best friend is a great way of defeating the downward spiral. Being able to forgive yourself for mistakes and cheering yourself on as you work toward your goals is so important in all aspects of life.

This morning, on my normal hump day run, it seemed as if nothing was going right. My GPS watch couldn’t find the satellites, I misjudged the temperature and wore the wrong running apparel, and my legs were absolutely done-zo from box-jumping two days in a row. My mood on the run was flirting with miserable. I had to stop and walk, something I rarely do, and even repeat my mantras out loud (also something I rarely do, as I’d like to be seen as mostly sane when I’m out in public) to get through the miles. I finished, with my slowest pace on record and a frustrated pit in my stomach. Instead of feeling exuberant and refreshed from my run, I felt exhausted and beat down. When I went to make a post-run smoothie, a “treat” and departure from my usual overnight oats for breakfast, my NutriBullet jammed and I had to exert all the leftover strength in my muscles to pull apart the mixing cup from the motor. I was about ready to lose my sh*t as I sat on the kitchen floor covered in Purple Power Smoothie.

I took a deep breath and I focused on the fact that I finished. I didn’t give up and walk home halfway through my run, I finished the five mile loop that I normally do. It was slow, and it was hard, but I did it. I didn’t quit.

I feel when things don’t go necessarily how you want them to, it’s easy to get on the Debbie Downer train and beat yourself up. But the fact of the matter is, each step you take – regardless of the perceived “good” or “bad” outcome, is a step toward your goal. Each attempt is a learning experience. Today was a good practice on not jumping on the self-bashing train and throwing the baby out with theย  bathwater. Hey – even if they weren’t perfect, I still propelled my legs forward for five miles – and that is still an accomplishment.

So in the spirit of self-compassion, be nice to yourself today. You’re the only you that you’ve got. And hey, I’m human. I may not be jumping for joy after that less than great run, but at least I can willingly employ self compassion to mentally steer myself away from being a total Negative Nancy today, based solely on my running performance.

Happy Hump Day! Spread some peace, love and booyah.

With warmth,

L

Friday FAVES!

Hello darlings! Sorry for the dearth of new recipes this week, I’ve been eating my mom’s pasta and sauce for leftovers all week long – the perfect way to carbo-load as a half Italian! ๐Ÿ˜‰ What a crazy week, I feel like it has flown by. Tomorrow I’ll be getting down and dirty in the Great Northeast Tough Mudder – I’m wicked nervous and excited! I can’t wait!!

Let’s get to it: what I’ve been feeling this week ๐Ÿ˜‰

  1. C9 Championยฎ Women’s Tech Tee

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Um, I picked up one of these bad boys up at Tar-gay for $3.88 (!!!!!) from the clearance rack. WHAT. I know that this sound pretty hypocritical coming from the girl who almost always wears head-to-toe Lulu to workout in, but you CAN find super cute workout clothes without spending a mortgage payment. I’ll be wearing this bad boy for the Tough Mudder tomorrow. ๐Ÿ˜€

C9 Championยฎ Women’s Tech Tee, Target $12.99

2. Michelle Wie’s Rainbow Hair

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#HairGoals! SO COOL! I love the Michelle is shaking things up in the generally conservative golfing world. The most impressive part? She colored her hair HERSELF!! Check out her Instagram for the proof. So rad.

Michelle Wie on Instagram

3. Sephora’s Ombre Seamless Hair Ties

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I just chopped a solid 3+ inches off my curls because they literally felt like straw and I was over trying to detangle my weave every morning. The worst part was trying to pull out my hair elastic after getting sweaty at the gym – it felt like it was impossible! I highly recommend these elastics from Sephora that won’t rip or damage your hair – and that’s coming from a girl who wears her hair in a pineapple on the top of her head every day (when I’m not at work/trying to look super cute, of course).

Ombre Seamless Hair Elastics, Sephora $9

4. Harbinger Women’s Flex Fit Weight Lifting Gloves

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Omg you guys, I can’t believe I forgot to tell you about these!!! I love these training gloves! I got them this summer – I finally caved because my hands were covered in calluses and looking pretty ratched (not the first impression I want to make when I shake someone’s hand). They are AWESOME. They have leather and gel-filled pads on the palms to help with grip, and the backside are mesh so that you hands can breathe. And they are PURPLE, hello. They stay put, protect my hands and help me push through workouts without tearing up my palms. Stellar all around, I highly recommend them to gals who are training/lifting.

Weight Lifting Gloves, Amazon $19.72

5. These Astronomy Photos

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If you guys have been following along, I’m pretty amped about astronomy and what we can see in the night sky – it’s fascinating. Check out this article on io9 for more of these beautiful images. Stunning.

What are you guys up to this weekend?? I’ll be doing the Tough Mudder bright and early tomorrow, eating a whole (vegan) pizza afterwards and then passing out at a sufficiently Grandma Hour, then Sunday I’m giving myself a FULL rest day before I get back into training for my next half marathon in 23 days! Also, I’ll probably be totally beat. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Tell me what you’re up to this weekend in the comments! โค

Think of me tomorrow at 9 AM EST! I’ll be diving into the mud right about then.

With warmth,

L

Green Beans Almondine

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Happy Hump Day, everyone! I hope everyone is having a stellar start to their day today. I went for a super speedy 5 mile run this morning and it felt GREAT. It was one of those good ones where you feel fantastic from start to finish, and you really go for it. It’s a good feeling to be able to step on the gas when you hear a power song on your playlist! This morning brought perfect run conditions for me: dark (stars were out!), quiet (it was 5 am), prime temperature (55ยฐF / 13ยฐC) and I was feeling really zippy. All around awesome, and a great way to start the second half of my week! Booyah!

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It was still pretty dark when I finished my run around 6 am.

Two nights ago I made this super simple, yet extremely delicious side dish. My mom sent me home from Rochester with Ang’s sauce (translation: the secret family recipe of marinara sauce), and I made this dish to accompany the luscious and comforting tomato sauce. I bought a boatload of fresh, snappy green beans at a local farm stand, and this is one of my favorite ways to prepare them. The best part? There are three ingredients, and it takes only about 15 – 20 minutes to whip this up. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Green Beans Almondine

Ingredients

  • Green beans (~1 lb)
  • 4 oz slivered almonds
  • 1 Tbsp Earth Balance

Directions

  1. Cut the ends off your green beans and chop them in half. Steam green beans for 3 minutes (you want the green beans to still be firm and slightly crunchy). Once steamed, transfer your green beans to a plate or bowl and set aside.

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    The green beans after steaming.

  2. Over medium-high heat, add the Earth Balance. Once the butter has melted, add the slivered almonds. While continuously stirring (otherwise these suckers will brown), cook the almonds until fragrant and lightly golden, 1 – 2 minutes.

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    Right after adding the slivered almonds to the hot (vegan) butter.

  3. Add the steamed green beans to the pan, cook for 1 – 2 minutes, until the almonds are golden brown.
  4. Serve immediately and enjoy! ๐Ÿ˜€
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The finished product. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I hadn’t eaten this dish for awhile, so when I got my first bite, it was a big “Mmmmm!” moment. This dish is really, really good. Even though it’s simple, your family/friends/dinner party guests will be uber impressed by the big flavor impact. The toasted almonds really give a nice foil to the crunchy texture of the green beans. YUM. Also, you can feel really good about eating this dish, since green beans are full of phytonutrients and good things for you! In addition to conventional antioxidant nutrients like vitamin C and beta-carotene, green beans contain important amounts of the antioxidant mineral manganese. However, the area where green beans really shine is through in their antioxidant value. Green beans contain a wide variety of carotenoids (including lutein, beta-carotene, violaxanthin, and neoxanthin) and flavonoids (including quercetin, kaemferol, catechins, epicatechins, and procyanidins) that have all been shown to have health-supportive antioxidant properties. The overall antioxidant capacity of green beans has been measured in several research studies, and in one study, green beans were shown to have greater overall antioxidant capacity than similar foods in the pea and bean families (for example, snow peas or winged beans). Woo! Go green beans!

I hope that you guys enjoy this dish as much as I did. Happy Hump Day, everyone! ๐Ÿ™‚

With warmth,

L

ROC Half Marathon Recap

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Hey all! As you know, I ran the Rochester Half Marathon on Sunday. It was awesome! The course was challenging – several tough hills, but beautiful sights and a mix of trails and roads. It was the perfect day weather-wise: the sun was out, there was a light breeze, and it was cool. There was a drum circle at Mile 5 (amazing), spirit-filled water stations, spectators decked out in Bills gear. Awesome race all around! B and I ran together as Team Booyah. Let me tell you – running alongside your best friend > running alone (way less boring). This was our third race together, and it feels pretty stellar to finish a race and accomplish something momentous (such as running a half marathon) next to your sister from another mister! Girl power!

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I’d also like to say this. When I told my Boston friends that I was running alongside my best friend for this race, a majority of the responses I got were “ugh, I hate doing that!” and while that may be my feeling the majority of the time (I’m a highly competitive lone wolf; I’ve promised my brother-in-law/friends that I’d run with them and then leave then in the dust and totally peace out unintentionally, when my competitive nature gets the best of me) there are times when sticking it out with someone you love and care about is more important. B set this trend first. When I was one of the last people out of the water during my first sprint triathlon in 2012, B was there, standing on the shore, cheering me on and waiting for me in her super cool orange swim cap before heading to the next portion of the race. When she was riding a super fast road bike and could smoke me on my non-fancy but perfectly functional bike (hybrid tires/mountain bike frame) during the cycling portion of the race, she waited for me to catch up. When I couldn’t run and had to walk during the 5K running final leg of the race, she walked right by my side, and told me not to feel bad. She encouraged me to keep going when I wanted to quit – and she was the sole reason why I didn’t quit. And, she ran right next to me all the way up to crossing the finish line at the end of the race. (If you want to read more about my first race experience, check out my post Guys, it’s my Raceaversary!). That’s what you do for friends. You encourage them when they think they can’t, when it feels everything is working against you, when you’re having a sh*tty running day, when you are exhausted and want to give up. That’s when you need your best friend by your side, telling you that you’re strong, not to quit, not to give up, that you can do it. And they will be right by your side to the bitter end. Sometimes it’s easier, in both life and races, to leave your friends/family behind so you can get ahead. But it’s not always the right thing to do.

There will be plenty more races for me to try and PR. In fact, I have two more this fall, and the next one is 26 days away. But, there is only one B (and she is WICKED special: she’s the one who will listen to your life drama for the upteenth time, stick by your side through the worst of the worst, the only person you want to talk to when you’re having a sh*t day, can communicate only using eyebrows, the one you remember all the good stories with and laugh until you bust a gut and/or pee your pants kinda friend). And she’s more important to me than numbers on a board. I’m proud to accomplish something I never thought I’d be able to do next to my best friend. You’re the friendship love of my life, B! I’m glad the stars aligned and we crossed paths in Organic Chemistry Lab a million years ago.

So, the race was tough and challenging. But I was next to my best friend, and that made it okay. ๐Ÿ™‚ And we ate an amazing breakfast afterwards at Jines on Park Ave in Rochester. Hello, pumpkin pancakes (not vegan – I cheated).

IMG_3806And then I watched the Buffalo Bills unfortunately lose to the Pats (not nice comment redacted, so please don’t give me any football hate! I’m already surrounded by Pats fans, I can’t take anymore ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) . ๐Ÿ˜ฆ WOMP! But I had an awesome local hard cider, the Flower City Blonde by Blue Toad Hard Cider, Zubaz pants (#BillsMafia) and CEP compression socks, so all was well.

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Flower City Blonde hard cider: A crisp and fruity cider, using a blend of the finest local Golden Delicious, Empire and Crispin apples. A light cider that is pale straw-colored and clean-tasting.

How was everyone’s weekend?? Tell me all about it in the comments. (I’m still catching up on responding to all of your wonderful comments from last week, but I promise I will respond to your comment today or tomorrow!)ย 

Happy first day of fall, everyone! I have lots of good recipes coming this week, so stay tuned. ๐Ÿ˜‰

With warmth,

L

xox โค

Baked Sweet Potato Stuffed with Black Bean, Corn and Pumpkin Chili

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Literally the easiest thing EVER. I made this chili from scratch for my carbo-loading food festival this week (last few days before the race!) and it is SO delicious. It does require a little prep, however – I used dried black beans, soaked them overnight and then pre-cooked them the night before making this chili, so throwing this dish together would be a breeze. I also learned something new: eating raw or undercooked beans is dangerous! Why? Beans contain a compound called lectin. Lectins are glycoproteins that are present in a wide variety of commonly-consumed plant foods. Some are not harmful, but the lectins found in undercooked and raw beans are toxic. I find it interesting that unlike a lot of other plant foods (most vegetables), beans have a better nutritional profile after they are cooked. Boiling destroys the lectin and renders them safe to eat. The toxic lectins are thought to exist in order to discourage animals and other pests from eating the raw beans or seeds of the plant. Animals are apparently able to smell the toxic lectins. Make sense – even your pooch will sniff food before eating it and turn away from anything that doesn’t smell juuuust right (bring on the peanut butter!). Us humans have no such olfactory sense, so we can’t tell that those raw beans are going to cause a serious bout of Montezuma’s revenge. Kidney beans are particularly dangerous, not only because they are one of the most consumed beans globally, but they also have the highest concentration of lectins. For comparison, cannellini beans have only about a third the amount of lectin of red kidney beans (yet even that amount is still enough to make you sick).

The toxin in kidney beans is called phytohemagglutinin (PHA). Your body reacts to this poison by emptying the entire digestive tract as quickly as possible. Sounds fun, right??! Exactly how you want to spend your night. ๐Ÿ˜‰
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So, we can take away a few important lessons here:
1. Soak your beans overnight.
2. Drain beans before cooking, and change the water.
3. Cook beans thoroughly, according to package directions.
4. Make sure all beans and brought to a boil for the specified amount of time.
5. Don’t eat raw beans, dude.

Black Bean Prep:

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My pre-soaked, pre-cooked black beans ready to jump into the chili

In order to follow all of these important points, I soaked 1 cup of dried beans in a large glass bowl covered with water (I put plastic wrap over the top so the water wouldn’t evaporate – it’s still pretty warm in Boston). I rinsed and drained my beans, and transferred them to a medium saucepan the next day. I added 32 ounces of veggie broth, 1 tsp of cumin, 1 tsp chili powder, 1/4 tsp caynne, 1 bay leaf, a dash of Herbamare (salt seasoning), a few turns of black pepper, and 1 Tbsp dried garlic*. I brought the liquid to a rolling boil, then turned the heat down to allow them to simmer covered for 1- 2 hours. You can also do this in a crockpot, bring to a boil on high, and then cook on low until you’ve achieved the desired consistency. Once my beans were soft, I transferred everything – beans and liquid to a large airtight container, allowed them to cool completely and then put them into the refrigerator overnight to use the next day in the chili. Or, you can use two 15.5 oz cans of black beans, rinsed and drained.
*Please note: Even though I added spices and seasoning to the beans alone before adding them to the chili, I added more seasoning to the chili itself to make the entire dish more flavorful. So yes, you add double the seasoning if you are cooking the beans from scratch. It tastes awesome.

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Baked Sweet Potato Stuffed with Black Bean, Corn and Pumpkin Chili

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of dried black beans, cooked following directions above
  • Black bean cooking liquid (or 32 oz veggie broth)
  • 1 16 oz jar of salsa, medium or hot
  • 1 15.5 oz can of pumpkin, or 2 cups pureed pumpkin
  • 3 ears of fresh sweet corn
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • Dash of Herbamare
  • Few turns of black pepper
  • bay leaf
  • Sweet potatoes (4)
  • Avocado (1)

Directions

  1. I was serving this chili over baked sweet potatoes. Preheat oven to 400ยฐF, pierce the sweet potatoes with a fork five or so times on each side, and place into the oven to roast for 45 minutes – 1 hour.

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    My baked sweet potato ready to be stuffed with chili.

  2. Meanwhile, grill or boil your corn. I boiled my ears of corn for 10 minutes, allowed them to cool enough to touch, and cut the kernels off the cob.
  3. Transfer your beans, bean cooking liquid (or broth), spices and jar of salsa into a medium saucepan. Stir to mix, and bring to a boil. Turn the heat to medium low to simmer and add the corn. Cover and simmer on low until the potatoes are done.

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    Chili simmering away. ๐Ÿ™‚

Serve chili over a sweet potato, top with avocado, Greek yogurt, a squeeze of lime, freshly chopped cilantro – whatever you like! Enjoy. ๐Ÿ˜€

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Sweet potato stuffed with chili…NOMS!

This dish really was quite simple. Yes, it does require some preparation and planning ahead if you use dried beans, but when you get down to it, it’s a lot of simmering downtime. And, it is full of nutrients, protein, fiber and my favorite combo ever: sweet potato and black beans. In addition, the ingredients are inexpensive and you can make it for as many or as few people as you like – it’s easily scale-able to feed a crowd. You can eat the chili as it is, or served over baked potato or on top of greens for taco salad, or as a burrito/taco/enchilada filling. This was really, really delicious. I can’t wait to make this again when pumpkin is in season! ๐Ÿ˜€

I hope you all enjoy it as much as I did!!

With warmth,

L

Rest Day = the Best Day?

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Today was supposed to be my last run before my race.

I didn’t go for that run.

I actually rolled back over and went back to sleep for another hour.

Then when I woke up I felt guilty. Like, really guilty. Then I thought – when was my last rest day?

….. I literally can’t remember. I think it was in August. Seriously.

My glutes are more sore than I’d like four days out from my race, and I have been feeling very tired – no wonder, really, if I can’t remember the last time I had a day off. I feel like I’m edging pretty close to the fine line between training and overtraining, and it’s time I slowed my roll for a hot minute. I’ve had a lot of red flags:

  1. Despite getting a fairly solid 8 – 9 hours of sleep a night, I’m feeling pretty exhausted, all the time. So much so that I was worried I was coming down with something (also, my allergies have been horrendous, so that’s not really helping either). I’m also ready to go to sleep every night at approximately 8 pm (even though I normally go to bed at Grandma Hour of about 9:30 pm, 8 pm is a liiiiiittle early, even for Granny Booyah over here).
  2. I’ve felt sore (at least one or more of my muscle groups) almost every day, since uh, I can remember.
  3. I’m starting to feel a little burnt out (not so good when you’re 4 days away from a big race). ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

All of these red flags are pointing toward Rest Day. It’s really hard for me, since I’m very stubborn and I like to really challenge myself, to accept that I need to take a day off from training every now and then. I always feel so fantastic after my workout, I use that as a motivational tool to get me out of bed even when I’m not feeling it, so I often push myself a little farther than I should. I’m a bad rester! I need some Rest Day Rehab. ๐Ÿ˜›

So, here’s what I’m not going to do:

  1. Go for a run after work because I’m feeling guilty, even though my legs/buns are sandbags.
  2. Go to a 90 minute hot vinyasa class because I can (and will) convince myself that “stretching” is all I need (but let’s face it: 90 minutes of vinyasa is not just stretching, it’s hard work!).
  3. Go to a bootcamp class at the gym after work because I’m feeling guilty.

K now that I’ve put those out there in the universe, I am going to have to hold myself to them.

Instead, I’m going to go for a mellow walk at lunch, enjoy my protein filled breakfast smoothie, drink lots of water, eat lots of delicious things and have a hot date with my foam roller later tonight (aka vacuum my living room rug, too, since those two activities come hand in hand), and maybe do some gentle yoga stretching (I may have to call in for reinforcements and ask my yoga instructor girlfriend Rachel for some tips).

So now, I’m turning to you, my gentle readers/Booyah family: what do YOU do for rest day? How do you cope if you’re in need of Rest Day Rehab like me? How do you recover on your rest days? I’ll take all the advice I can get.

77aac71b9561a360872b6a0443cfbd47I know #GratiTuesday has come and gone, but this quote really spoke to me. It is a stellar idea to stop every now and then and be thankful of all that your body does for you – it is definitely worth taking a moment to allow yourself to rest and recover.

I hope you guys have a peaceful and restful hump day!

With warmth,
L